The Red Storm get back in the saddle three days after dispatching Wagner with local foe, St. Francis of Brooklyn. The little school by the Brooklyn bridge, coached by former St. John’s assistant Glenn Braica, will pose an annoying challenge; they do certain things well on defense, and played Boston College tough to start the season.
Fans may think the next two games are mere exercises to get to Seton Hall, Big East play and a magical #Ranking, but the Terriers could dog the Red Storm tonight.
Who: St. John’s Red Storm (10-0) vs St. Francis Terriers (7-4)
Where: Carnesecca Arena
When: Wednesday, December 19, 6:30 PM
TV: FS1 | FoxSportsGo
Audio: 570 WMCA | TuneIn Radio
Odds: St. John’s, -19
Last meeting: St. John’s defeated St. Francis 63-56 in 2015’s Holiday Festival behind 17 points and 10 rebounds from Yankuba Sima and 19 from Durand Johnson. St. Francis led 23-14 before a 19-2 run tilted the game toward the home team. Overall, St. John’s is 66-12 against St. Francis.
Rankings & School Notes
Last season final KenPom Ranking: 313 | Current KenPom Ranking: 298
School size: 2,363 (2,289 undergraduates)
School is academically known for: Business, psychology, accounting, criminal justice
Notable alumni: Rep. Peter King (US House of Representatives since 1993), Thomas Von Essen (former FDNY Commissioner), Pete Davidson (Saturday Night Live comedian), Barry Rohrssen (former St. John’s assistant), Dick Bavetta (NBA referee)
Scouting St. Francis (NY)
For scouring St. Francis, we welcome a special guest assist from St. Francis alum and Dave’s Joint owner David Cordova [twitter] and LIU alum Nelson Castillo [twitter], both of whom have written extensively about the NEC.
The Terriers, an undersized squad, actually have some height up front — but also have small (yet talented) guards. Some numbers of note:
- The team does not shoot well inside the arc (43% vs Division 1 foes), but is willing and able to shoot threes (41% of their shots, they make 36% of their threes).
- Stylistically, the lead guards create shots for themselves; the Terriers have one of the lowest rates of assisted shots in the country (35% of their shots are assisted, 352 in D1).
- They rebound well (grabbing 75% of opponents’ misses, 46th in D1) and restrict three-point attempts (opposing teams take 31% of their shots from deep, 18th lowest in the country).
The Terriers have weathered some changes well and found new stars to emerge. Dave says:
They lost Rasheem Dunn (transfer to Cleveland State) & Josh Nicholas last year and three key players graduated. This year, the team is jelling. Despite the fact that two players are out for the season with injuries, they’ve been doing good with their depth.
Another under the radar loss was senior forward Joshua Nurse who is out this season with a fractured tibia. The Dunn transfer opened up minutes to Chauncey Hawkins (#4) and he has taken full advantage of the increased playing time as mentioned before. Several newcomers have stepped and have made immediate contributions, especially front line guys such as: Christian Rohlehr (#41) who is second among NEC players in blocked shots; Yaradyah Evans (#5) who has likely benefited the most in terms of games started and increased minutes with the loss of Nurse; and Rosel Hurley (#2) who is a transfer from Kent State and is getting an opportunity to play at St. Francis Brooklyn.
On Evans, in particular, from Dave:
The last game against St. Peter’s, Yaradayah Evans had 18 rebounds.
Evans is 6’6”, 190 pounds, but has held his own all season against bigger players. Up front, Evans is joined by the 6’9” Rohlehr and Fairfield transfer Deniz Celen, who is 6’8”. Also receiving limited minutes is Cori Johnson, a 6’98”, 270 center from Brooklyn.
The guards will be the real threats tonight. Nelson, on the threat of the Terrier backcourt:
There are three real good guards the Johnnies need to game plan for.
The first is 6’3” sophomore guard Jalen Jordan (#14) who is the Terriers’ leading scorer coming in at 16.5 points per game. He is coming off being named the Northeast Conference Player of the Week where he had a pair of 21-point performances against UMass Lowell and Saint Peter’s. He is shooting 44% on his two-point shots and 48% on his three-point shots but he shoots the three way more — nearly 70% of his shots so far come from beyond the arc. He has made at least one three in every game this season.
Next is 5’11” redshirt senior point guard Glenn Sanabria (#10) who is one of the more underrated players not just in the NEC but in the NYC area. Sanabria is the undisputed leader of this team. He has played in 104 games in four-plus years at St. Francis Brooklyn, including starting 74 of his last 76 games. Similarly to Jordan, he is having a great shooting start to his final season, shooting over 39% from the floor and 39% from three. He doesn’t turn the ball over as he has just 10 turnovers in eleven games so far.
Third is emerging 5’8” sophomore guard Chauncey Hawkins (#4) who is their sixth-man extraordinaire. He has scored 22 or more points three times this season (vs Lafayette, Presbyterian, and Niagara). At 13.3 points per game, he is currently doubling his scoring output of his freshmen year.
On defense, Dave tells us that “St. Francis is a team that relies on pressure defense and their trap. They were very efficient this year against Boston College for the first 35 mins of the game before they lost.” Nelson adds, “don’t expect to see much zone or pressure defense. They are going to stick with what works for them which is their half-court, man-to-man defense.
As far as the low assist rate, Nelson clues us in:
Jordan, Sanabria and Hawkins can create their shot which further explains their team’s low assist rate. Don’t be at all surprised to see a lot of three-point shots taken. With the size discrepancy (St. Francis Brooklyn is 345th out of 353 D1 teams in average height according to kenpom.com), look for a lot of drive and kick to outside shooters.
Thanks to Nelson and David, who, along with a few others, I follow to keep informed about NYC-area college hoops. Give them a follow.
Keys to the Game
Don’t let them get comfortable shooting. St. John’s has established a reputation this year for giving up bunches of three-point attempts. The Red Storm need to make sure this team is coaxed into driving inside — and the Johnnies need to keep the three offensive engines off balance.
Drive to the basket/ soften them up. The Red Storm will want to take long jumpers and establish their three-point dominance. Certainly, they should be able to get their shots against a shorter set of guards. But with a man-to-man team that is no stranger to committing fouls, the Johnnies can take advantage of their size by posting up Justin Simon and Shamorie Ponds, by driving to the hoop, and by making this team move and defend.
Care for the ball. The Terriers will happily take any mistakes the Johnnies make. So the Red Storm need a crisp ballhandling performance.
St. John’s keeps it going, and starts a little stronger than the last game. 77-61.